Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
Today’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade threatens the fundamental rights of every American. The ruling is the culmination of a decades-long strategy to take the Constitution, our Court, and our country backwards on issues of reproductive freedom, and it has profound implications for every other right that could be next on the chopping block. The ruling also exposes the disingenuous sworn testimony of conservative justices during their Senate confirmation hearings when they assured Senators that Roe was established precedent, leaving unsaid their agenda to reverse it.
Today’s decision shakes confidence in whatever was left of trust and confidence in the Court’s independence and integrity. The ruling is the latest in a long string of recent right-wing activist rulings from this Court. Its ideological agenda has repeatedly preferenced the rights of politicians, corporations, and those in power over women’s rights, the rights of people of color, and everyday people. This Court has trampled on precedent and on commonsense campaign finance laws in Citizens United v. FEC, McCutcheon v. FEC, FEC v. Cruz for Senate, and numerous other cases – encouraging pay-to-play and silencing the voices of everyday Americans. The Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. The Court ducked the responsibility to protect North Carolina voters against partisan gerrymandering in Rucho v. Common Cause, allowing politicians to cherry pick their voters instead of voters choosing politicians.
The damage done to this nation by this Court is not over, and today’s ruling is just the latest reminder that who we elect to the presidency and to the United States Senate has very real and long-lasting consequences, including for the wealthy special interests that think they have captured our democracy and the Court. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) engineered an unprecedented attack on judicial independence with his refusal in 2016 to allow so much as a hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in an election year, only to reverse course days before the 2020 election to seat Justice Barrett after abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees three years before.
Today’s decision also sends a signal to lower courts and state courts to do their part in rolling back fundamental rights. This is perilous nationwide, and especially in places that elect judges and where campaign contributions pollute notions of fair play and equal justice under law.
We know exactly who nominated and confirmed the ideological Justices sitting on the Court today, and many of those Senators are still in office. Our recourse is the ballot box, and we must hold our elected officials accountable for the actions of the Justices they nominate and confirm to the Supreme Court.